Think Before You Type

Posted: April 25, 2012 in General
Tags: , , ,

The United States Marine Corp has decided to issue SGT Gary Stein An Other Than Honorable Discharge for his less than well thought out public criticisms of President Obama.  I first wrote about Stein a little while back in The Fine Line Between Civilian Views and Representing Your Military Service.

Stein put some of his post military benefits on the line and will lose a portion of them thanks to his persistent disregard for military policy.  Stein reported:

 he was disappointed by the decision. He argued that he was exercising his constitutional rights to free speech.

The seemingly clueless Stein told the Associated Press:

“I love the Marine Corps, I love my job. I wish it wouldn’t have gone this way. I’m having a hard time seeing how 15 words on Facebook could have ruined my nine-year career,”

One of the things I endeavor to do when I write one of these blog posts is to try and always maintain the separation that my military career requires.  I take seriously the oath I have taken each and every time I re-enlisted, the same one I swore to when I first joined the Army oh, so many years ago.  Each and every service takes the same exact oath.

“I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”

If you swear an oath to obey the orders of the President, you cannot later post that you will not follow those same orders.  As military professionals, and after a nine year career you should well be a professional, you cannot then abandon your professionalism because you do not agree with your Commander in Chief.  Accept your circumstances and do not try to hide behind the Constitution when you have been presented with the policy(ies) you have violated.

Kudos to the USMC for maintaining the standards when it is not publicly popular.  After all, if the public really understood what it takes to run our great big green machine, they would not be civilians and we would be out of a job.

See the write up of the decision here:

  1. Susan Miller says:

    I am in 100 percent agreement with you and the decision of the the USMC. I was in the Air Force. The oath meant something. You swore an allegiance to the President as your Commander in Chief no matter what. You do not have consitutional rights. You do not get to make your own decisions. Your commander makes them for you! You are the property of the military. Did this person not take those words seriously as he stood with countless others taking the pledge? Such is the society that we have today where no one takes responsibility seriously and everything is a video game.


    • @Susan,

      It is quite crazy these days in the military. having been in close to 19 years now I entered and grew up in the pre-terrorism focus day. We shined our boot, rolled our sleeves up from April 1 until October and if you lived i the barracks it was kept clean. We have a new SGM of the Army now and the soldiers are crying out because he wants to enforce standards that were never officially lowered. Physical appearance, no piercings on males, ever, no neck tattoos, etc.

      We have NCOs up to E8 who never knew leadership before 9/11 and they will be in for a huge surpirse in post-war activities or lack there of. I have just a few years left and I am glad I will be getting out before I become disillusioned and get to see the legacy of my (our) generation of service members from afar.



      • Susan Miller says:

        Mark. I thank you for your continous service even during war time. I too remember the days when they warned me if I got a sunburn “I was damaging military property”. Needless to day I avoided the sun. I will never forget the fact that I was property of the government of the United States. Anyone in the military between 20-30 should be reminded of this on a daily basis. Discipline, adherence to rules and regulations are the cornerstone of a strong military.


      • Ahh, yes, I forgot about sunburn. I am one of those fair-skinned fools who always needs to burn once before the sunscreen comes out. We are indeed property and carry both the risks and responsibilities that come with it. The military has evolved for the better and it will unfortunately take the glutting of our services during peacetime to get back to the true leaders to carry it on after us “old” folk have moved on.


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